Without a doubt, the coolest two-door SUV ever has to be the Isuzu VehiCROSS. It was effectively identical to the 1993 VX concept car, right down to the black body cladding that covered the entire lower half of the SUV. Built to showcase Isuzu’s off-road technology, it took the underpinnings of another two-door SUV, the Isuzu Raider (also sold in the US as the Acura SLX), and gave it a bespoke body with short overhangs for exceptional approach and departure angles. One of its strangest design quirks was the rear-mounted spare wheel, which was only accessible from within the trunk.
It combined its short overhangs with a BorgWarner Torque-on-Demand (TOD) 4WD system with 12 sensors to detect wheel slip and apportion torque to wheels with more grip, while power came from a 3.5-liter V6 with 215 hp and 230 lb-ft. It featured early precursors to external reservoir off-road shocks and proved itself in the Paris-Dakar Rally, taking a class win in 1998.
Sold in the US from 1999 to 2001 (Japanese sales commenced in 1997), it was considered a sales flop, but its production was, in fact, limited to just 5,958 because of its unique production method, which used ceramic dyes instead of steel ones to reduce tooling costs at the expense of longevity when creating its oddly-shaped panels. When the dyes wore out, production ended, with 4,153 units arriving in the US at a base price of $28,900 (equivalent to nearly $50,000 today).
And if you think the VehiCROSS is as cool as we do, there’s one for sale on CarBuzz right now.